Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company

26 February 2018

Gairloch High School 7.15 pm.



Roy Macintyre; Karen Buchanan; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Hugh Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Nevis Hulme; Katie Pilcher.



Irene Macintyre.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 15 January 2018 & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Willie and seconded by Hugh.

Matters arising:

i) The group considering new and updated material required by April 2019, both for printed and website aspects, met again on 1 February and has established what needs to be done and by whom. A style guide is being prepared, to ensure common ‘livery’ and editing conventions.

ii) The revised Articles of Association were accepted by OSCR but Companies House require ‘Ltd’ to be added to Gairloch & District Heritage Company in all related documents. This has now been done.

iii) Notice of the AGM and invitations to renew membership will be sent out by the end of February. We have 4 nominations for Directors so far; there are 5 vacancies.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Now that we are registered for VAT, Dugald is working on the necessary returns. The first will cover 1 November 2017-31 January 2018 but will include claims backdated for six months. We hope to recover a significant amount of the VAT paid to our various project consultants last year. We will be submitting monthly VAT returns thereafter. He explained which retail items are ‘zero-rated’ and which are VAT chargeable. We will need to amend the Temporary Exhibitions Policy to take account of our having to pay VAT on the commissions from the sale of exhibits.


The 2017 Accounts are being processed. Pauline will provide the necessary Board details and Reports.

The Scottish Land Fund grant should cover most legal fees paid over the past year. Dugald will confirm with Mia what is eligible. He will also review the project cash flow with her, to determine when we will need to take up the loan facility with AHF (£325,000). It is hoped that some significant funding will be released/claimed in the near future.


Simpsons (AAOR building works) will refund the electricity bills incurred during the contract period. We need to decide whether or not to use EDF, who were the Highland Council’s suppliers.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Building and grounds; Collection; Training & networking; Projects; Exhibitions, events and outreach; Fundraising; Miscellaneous.

Further points:

i) This is always a busy time of year. The Museum opens for the season on Good Friday, 30 March. It was agreed that the tidy-up day would be 22 March.

ii) Three volunteers worked and trained with our staff under the guidance of conservators from Glasgow Museums and High Life Highland, 22-24 February. Very useful work was undertaken, including assessment of objects, some repairs/conservation and some packing. Karen is concerned that the project budget has not taken the cost of the collections care sufficiently into account. Pauline will confirm what allocations were included in the Activity Plan. We will apply for a further Radcliffe Trust grant and HLF has a contribution to make. Once Karen has itemised the work necessary, we will know what further funding is required.

iii) Karen was asked to get the measurements and condition of the Preacher’s Pulpit that has been offered to the Museum so that a decision can be made as to whether we should take it into our Collection. It is said to have connections with Lachlan MacKenzie, a renowned preacher from Loch Carron. The ‘stable’ in the Steading is permanent and we do not plan to try to move it.

iv) Karen explained her request to change her working pattern during academic holiday periods to a more concentrated 4 day week - still 35 hours. This will be given due consideration.

v) Dates will soon be agreed for the pre-season induction for reception volunteers. Marcus stressed that, now that we are registered for VAT, the accuracy of entries onto the day sheets is even more important.


5. Data protection & privacy policy

This is required because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into operation in May 2018. Changes have been made to our membership forms in order to gain explicit consent for the use of the information provided. Karen will help Pauline to draft a new policy.


6. Notice & advice from OSCR with respect to Safeguarding and Notifiable Events

This notice was received on 14 February. Trustees were requested to be alert and mindful to the requirements and implications. We believe our existing policies, which were reviewed last year, are still appropriate to our circumstances.


7. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Loans boxes; Events (Easter activities, Festival of Museums 2018, NOSAS conference, Summer programme, Highland Archaeology Festival, House of Memories); Social media; Disclosure.

Willie offered to be the ‘lead signatory’ and point of contact with Disclosure Scotland on behalf of the Museum.


8. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) There was considerable discussion about the name we will be using for the new Museum. This has been raised often, ever since the project began. It is recognised that there will never be full agreement, whatever is chosen. Board members therefore accepted the recommendation of “Gairloch Museum” made by Campbell & Co., our design team, as being simple and apt. A new design for the Pictish Stone fish logo is being worked on.

ii) Before the builders moved in on 5 February we showed more than 60 interested people around the AAOR – six tours rather than the two planned. Mark Appleton and Jim Buchanan are using their skills to ensure we have an image record of the construction work and we very much appreciate benefitting from their expertise. Katie is using GDT, Facebook and our website to keep the information flowing.


Demolition of the temporary building has freed up space for the site office and storage cabins. A site progress meeting is scheduled for 2 March. We would like to have a banner on the hoarding which will both explain the work ongoing and provide pointers to the current Museum. The HLF sign should also be installed. This will be raised with Simpsons.

iii) After due consideration and being satisfied it is in the best interests of the Company it was agreed

a) that the Company would grant a Standard Security to National Heritage Memorial Fund in security of obtaining funding detailed in award letter dated 06 December 2016 and b) appoint Hector Roy Macintyre, a director of the Company, to execute all documentation (including the Standard Security) required in connection thereof.

iv) Karen and Katie have had discussions with the finance officer from UHI/West Highland College as to the services required for the Education spaces. Karen also needs to raise a number of issues with the service engineers, including environmental controls, display area lighting and the facilities of the library and archive rooms so that the necessary flexibility can be built in.

v) A Skype meeting, 31 January, with our design team has ‘signed off’ the ground floor exhibition areas. The next Skype meeting, scheduled for 7 March, will consider the display areas upstairs. Campbell and Co. would welcome confirmation of the café, retail and admission arrangements so that they can integrate these as appropriate into their planning.  The Education room is not in their remit.

vi) Confirmation has now been received in writing of the £167,970 LEADER commitment. We still await precise details of the HES grant. Mia is working on payment submissions to HLF, HIE, RCGF and Highland Council. Hugh Fraser (£15,000) and the Stafford Trust (£5,000) have paid their pledges. SSE may also release their funding commitment without requiring invoice evidence.

vii) The Great Wilderness Challenge organisers have augmented the monies raised by our runners and sent us a cheque for £4000. Letterewe estate has, in recognition of research work undertaken by Dorothy Malone, contributed a further £5000. So, given the recent pub quizzes, donations from the AAOR tours and other individual donations, the community fund-raising total is now at c.£173K.

viii) Progress has been made on considering the options for the retail areas. Similar consideration needs now to be given to planning for the broader business operation, including the café area.  Various local contacts have offered to advise us and Roy has made preliminary enquiries of HIE to see if there would be any financial support for appointing a business manager – ideally some months before we open.

ix) There was insufficient time for an update on the World War I project. A written report will be circulated.


9. Date of next meeting

As a number of Board members are not available for the interim meeting proposed for 19 March, the next full Board meeting will be 30 April unless otherwise advised.


The meeting ended at 9.10 pm.









Curator's Report 26th February 2018



Building and Grounds


The fence between the museum car park and Derek Roxburgh’s land has still not been put up.


One of the down pipes has become detached and needs fixing to the wall.


Could we please arrange a date for a general tidy up outside before we reopen?




Some progress has been made with the archive accessions backlog, but there is still a substantial backlog.


We have started work on the decant.  Seven individuals were involved in packing objects in the archive and textile stores.  Two experienced conservators were involved and have passed on their expertise to staff and volunteers who will continue to pack parts of the collection as time permits


Some objects need to undergo conservation work before they can be redisplayed.   I am trying to organise funding for this to happen and appropriate professionals to do the work.  Some objects have been sent to High Life Highland and others will go to specialist conservators.


The small backlog of unaccessioned objects has been cleared.


We should discuss whether we wish to take a second preaching ark into the collection.


Training and Networking


I obtained A grades in my last semester modules:

Gaelic for Learners 2A 76%

The Gaelic World 2 77%




A lot of the work I have been doing over the past month is for the redevelopment project, including design and research activities for the new displays, designing the storage areas and getting quotes for racking, identifying conservation needs prior to decant.   In addition, I am trying to accomplish the collections work usually carried out at this time of year.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


Thanks to Katie, we have a full series. The final exhibition slot has been filled and the schedule is as follows:


Exhibition 1:  Friday 30th March  – Saturday 19th May

Exhibition Title TBC by Clare Yarrington


No Preview


Exhibition 2: Saturday 26th May – Saturday 7th July

Exhibition Title TBC by Emma Noble


Preview: Friday 25th May 7.30pm


Exhibition 3: Saturday 14th July – Saturday 1st September

Exhibition Title TBC by Joy Grindrod


Preview: Friday 13th July 7.30pm


Exhibition 4:  Saturday 8th September –  Wednesday 31st October

A Land Fit for Heroes? by Gairloch Heritage Museum

Preview: Friday 7th September 7.30pm




I have unfortunately missed the deadline for the third year of Radcliffe funding, though there is another opportunity to apply in July.  AIM have confirmed that they would consider an application for specialist assistance with the decant within their Collections Care funding stream.  The next deadline is 31st March.




I would like to discuss an alteration to my working hours during the visitor season.


Karen Thompson (Curator)




Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 26th February 2018


• Loan Boxes


Met with Alison Parfitt from IMAG earlier in the month to discuss their loan box service for advice and guidance on improving and developing ours. She identified the strengths and weaknesses of the boxes she is currently working on. Really useful discussion.

Will be considering objects that will make up the two new loans boxes and evaluating those that currently exist over the next month.


• Events


Easter Activities at the Museum

We will be holding an ‘After Hours at the Museum’ event to celebrate the final opening of the Museum in the current building. This event will also be the official opening of Clare Yarrington’s Ebb and Flow exhibition. This is a free entry event from 6pm-9pm on Friday 30th March. There will be live traditional music and an opportunity to see a selection of Mark Appleton’s photographs of the construction work so far with free wine and nibbles.


There will also be a free activity on offer for children and their families during the Easter holidays. This will take the form of an Easter egg treasure hunt. Those taking part will be given an activity sheet with clues that will lead them around the museum to search for the hidden Easter eggs.


Festival of Museums 2018 – Dyeing About Nature

Will be meeting with Pat Gulliver in the near future to discuss the details of this event.



NOSAS will be holding their 20 Year Conference on Saturday 24th March. The conference will look back at some of the achievements of community archaeology in the Highlands over the last 20 years looking to what the future holds. We will have a presence at this in the form of a table board. This will be image heavy and focus on the transformation to the new museum ‘From Gairloch Heritage Museum to Gairloch Museum’.  In addition to this, the display will also cover some of the archaeological projects that have been carried out in the area in association with the Museum. There is the intention to cover the Poolewe Hoard being displayed in the new museum as well.


Summer Programme of Events

Intending to trial out some activities and events over the summer months in keeping with Activity Plan. These will look to cater to the local community and those visiting the area. The audiences I hope to engage will be children, families, specific interest groups and maybe teenagers/young adults. More information to come on this as planning takes place.


Highland Archaeology Festival 2018

Currently considering a selection of events we can run during this Festival with Dorothy Malone and Jeremy Fenton. Ideas have covered workshops and guided walks.


• House of Memories


On 6th February, I met with the House of Memories Steering Group in Inverness. House of Memories is a museum dementia awareness training programme created by National Museums Liverpool (NML). This programme has shifted ideas of what a cultural institution is for.  The Steering Group in the Highlands consists of those working for High Life Highland, museums in the Highlands, for the NHS and for charities such as Alzheimer Scotland. We will be working with professionals from NML to make this a beneficial programme for our community. So far the group have put together a project schedule for the development and implementation process. Updates will follow.


• Social Media


Have begun the weekly updates on the construction work of the AAOR on Facebook and fortnightly in the GDT.

Thanks to Jim, the website has been updated. I intend to send him regular updates to keep this up to date. We also have a live Facebook stream on the website so those who do not have Facebook but still want to see what we’re posting can do so.


• Disclosure


I am in the process of applying for Disclosure due to the nature of some of my work. For me to be able to get this I need a lead signatory to get started. It needs to be a senior figure within the organisation. They will be the point of contact with Disclosure Scotland and the Museum. You would need to meet with me and Tania Mackenzie at GALE to get this onto the next step in the near future.


Katie Pilcher (L&I officer)







Gairloch Heritage Museum :   Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK

Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)

tel : 01445 712287

email : info@gairlochheritagemuseum.org

Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd

 which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249